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Secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo grilled about closeness to Trump

Secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo grilled about closeness to Trump”

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President Trump's nominee for secretary of state, leaves a meeting in Washington on Monday.

Mike Pompeo, now the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, testifies in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today as President Trump's nominee to be the next secretary of state.

Melendez began by citing a report from 2017 which said that Trump asked Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to personally interfere with former FBI Director James Comey's investigation into Michael Flynn. "President Trump isn't one to play games at the negotiating table - and I won't be either", he will say.

Pompeo's entrance to the committee room was met by anti-war protesters, who wielded signs and yelled "No Pompeo, no more war".

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said they would press Pompeo on the administration's strategy on Syria, relations with Russia, North Korea's nuclear ambitions and plans for dealing with China's growing worldwide influence.

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Pompeo has also co-sponsored the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act several times, pushing the State Department to designate the group as a "foreign terrorist organization".

Said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin: "Mike Pompeo's longstanding opposition to LGBTQ equality makes him a reckless choice to lead our nation's diplomatic efforts".

When Coons asked, should Trump try to fire Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, "would you resign your post as secretary of state in order to demonstrate that we are a nation of laws, not of men?"

The 21 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee lobbed questions at Pompeo on topics ranging from his views on the special counsel investigating alleged ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign to a possible US strike in Syria to his stance on gay marriage.

Republicans hold 52 seats in the 100-seat Senate but two Republican senators will not vote for his confirmation: Arizona's John McCain is away for cancer treatment and Kentucky's Rand Paul has said he will vote no.

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In an an advance copy of his remarks to the senators, Pompeo was quoted as saying that Iran has not paid enough of a price for its "dangerous activities". Two days earlier, Comey had confirmed in a congressional hearing that the bureau was probing whether Trump's campaign coordinated with Russian Federation during the 2016 race. Even if Republican leaders take special measures to move his nomination to the broader Senate, the former House lawmaker still faces a tight vote.

"I think the first thing you want to know if whether he will be an independent voice in the White House that he will stand up for American values and the importance of diplomacy, and that will be tested", Sen.

Last month, Trump dismissed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and nominated Pompeo to become his new chief diplomat.

"His reputation is not that strong on standing up to the president", Sen.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed Thursday that USA forces killed "a couple hundred" Russian mercenary troops in Syria in a strike earlier this year that he said sent a distinct signal to Moscow. He has attended briefings and reached out to former diplomats to ask what works and what doesn't.

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Menendez also questioned whether Pompeo would exert any independence "after a almost a year and a half of reckoning with President Trump's erratic approach to foreign policy, which has left our allies confused and our adversaries emboldened".

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